If you polled most college basketball writers and fans, the ACC would probably get the nod for best league in America.
But the advanced numbers at KenPom.com say the Big 12 is college basketball's best league for the fourth straight season. This week, for the first time all year, the top two teams in our poll come from the Big 12.
The ACC does have the most teams in this week's poll (six) and is a victim of eating its own. Usual powerhouses Louisville and Virginia already have two league losses, and both UNC and Duke have already dropped a game.
Only two teams in the country are still undefeated (Baylor and Gonzaga), and only 11 teams in the six major conferences are undefeated in league play. That number drops to seven if you eliminate the watered-down SEC, which has only two teams in this week's poll.
There's a lot of movement since our last poll, and that's because we took a break over the holidays. Funny thing, Top 25 teams start losing once conference play starts and they're forced to go on the road. Eleven of the 25 have lost since Christmas.
|B/R's Week 10 Top 25 Poll|
|10. Florida State||15-1||23|
|11. West Virginia||13-2||10|
|13. Notre Dame||14-2||18|
|15. North Carolina||14-3||9|
|19. Saint Mary's||14-1||23|
|24. Kansas State||13-2||NR|
Moving Up: Oregon and Florida State
The soundtrack of Oregon's season should be "Forgot About Dre." Early losses to Baylor (turns out not so bad) and Georgetown had the Ducks free-falling in the polls and out of the national radar.
Now that Dillon Brooks is back and balling again, the Ducks have re-established themselves as one of the teams that belongs in the national title conversation. Let's remember this was a team that made the Elite Eight and was a No. 1 seed a season ago.
The "oh yeah those dudes are pretty good win" came right before the new year against UCLA.
Oregon's offense looks to be even more potent than last season. That's not reflected in its season-long numbers—a reminder Brooks missed three games and took some time to get humming—but in Pac-12 play, the Ducks are scoring a league-best 122.4 points per 100 possessions, per KenPom.com. To be at the top of the Pac-12 in any offensive statistic is impressive considering the machine Lonzo Ball is orchestrating in Westwood.
Florida State got its statement win on New Year's Eve at Virginia. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton has one of America's most talented rosters—headlined by potential future first-rounders Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac—and he's convinced this group to start playing the kind of defense we used to see out of Hamilton's teams.
The Seminoles have a shot to legitimize their ranking this week with Duke coming to town Tuesday.
Moving Down: Louisville and Virginia
It's the year of offense in college hoops, and defensive-minded Louisville and Virginia aren't getting enough buckets to keep up early on in ACC play.
Louisville has been one of the league's best defensive teams in league play but is scoring at an uninspiring rate of 97.3 points per 100 possessions, per KenPom.com.
Virginia's pack-line defense was dominant in nonconference play, but league teams are scoring 103.8 points per 100 possessions, per KenPom.com.
Virginia has not allowed more than 100 points per 100 possessions in league play since 2011, according to KenPom.com's numbers, and that year Tony Bennett's club dropped nine ACC games.
Worth Noting: Who is the real North Carolina?
It's difficult to figure out what to do with the Tar Heels. Last weekend, they lost at Georgia Tech, one of the ACC's worst two teams. The Heels then just barely skated by Clemson in overtime. (That's not such a bad look. Clemson is a borderline Top 25 team.)
Early on Sunday, our poll had the Heels at 18, but they jumped up three spots by clobbering NC State 107-56.
It wasn't that long ago you had national television analysts—namely Jay Bilas—tabbing the Heels as college basketball's best team. A few more games of playing like they did Sunday and it might be time to put them back in the elite tier.
On the Radar: Texas Tech
Texas Tech is only 1-2 in the Big 12 but the one win is against West Virginia and the two losses have come at arguably the toughest two arenas to play in the league: Hilton Coliseum and Allen Fieldhouse.
"Coach [Bill] Self asked me right after the game who do you play next, and I said I think the Golden State Warriors," Tech coach Chris Beard said on Saturday after losing at Kansas.
The schedule lightens up this week with a home game against Kansas State and then a trip to Oklahoma, who is having a down year. The Red Raiders win those two games and they'll likely appear in next week's poll.
What to Watch for This Week
- Baylor at West Virginia (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
- Xavier at Villanova (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)
- Duke at Florida State (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN3)
- Butler at Creighton (Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)
- Duke at Louisville (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- Xavier at Butler (Saturday 2 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1)
- Baylor at Kansas State (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
Unlike the Associated Press and Coaches polls, which will likely have Baylor at the top this week, we have Kansas. The argument could be made the Bears have the better resume, and if they remain undefeated after this week, they'll get my vote. A split going to West Virginia and K-State should be considered a success and keep them in the top five.
Duke also has a wicked schedule this week with road games at Florida State and Louisville.
The Blue Devils could be without Amile Jefferson, who re-injured the same foot that sidelined him last season. Jefferson has been Duke's second-best player behind Luke Kennard this season.
Now that freshman Harry Giles is back, the Blue Devils have the depth to tread water without Jefferson. But it's awful timing based on where they are on the schedule and the need to have some positive things happen in the first full week without coach Mike Krzyzewski, who's out for about a month after undergoing back surgery.
This week is also a huge one for the teams battling for a Big East title. It looks like a four-way race between Villanova, Creighton, Butler and Xavier. The Musketeers are the lone team with an unblemished record in league play, but that should end with road games at Villanova and Butler. Bet on Villanova and Creighton to rise to the top this week.
Also Receiving Votes: Kansas State
Voters in the poll are C.J. Moore, Brian Pedersen and Kerry Miller. Our experts participate in weekly voting for B/R's Top 25. Once a vote is cast for a specific team, it's assigned a value—25 points for the No. 1 team in the rankings, 24 points for the second spot and so on. The point totals are then added up to create the Top 25.
All advanced stats are courtesy of KenPom.com.
C.J. Moore covers college basketball and football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter: @CJMooreBR.